Friday, January 4, 2019

Vladimir Ashkenazy & Mozart

No. 300 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages, which can be found in our archives at


As we do when we hit a significant milestone in this series, this week's Blog and Podcast extends past the self-imposed 90 minute limit, featuring five works for piano and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, all taken from the Vladimir Ashkenazy/Philharmonia Complete set of concerti.

Three of the works, concertos nos. 22, 23 and 25 complete our set of Mozart piano conceros - more on that later this month as we launch Part 3 of Project 366.

The Piano Concerto No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482, composed in December 1785, is the first piano concerto of Mozart's to include clarinets in its scoring. The Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (K. 488) was finished, according to Mozart's own catalogue, on March 2, 1786, two months prior to the premiere of his opera, Le nozze di Figaro.

The Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503, was completed on December 4, 1786, alongside the Prague Symphony, K. 504. Although two more concertos (K. 537 and K. 595) would later follow, this work is the last of what are considered the twelve great piano concertos written in Vienna between 1784 and 1786.

K. 503 is now widely recognized as "one of Mozart's greatest masterpieces in the concerto genre." However, it had long been neglected in favor of Mozart's more "brilliant" concertos, such as K. 467. Though Mozart performed it on several occasions, it was not performed again in Vienna until after his death, and it only gained acceptance in the standard repertoire in the later part of the twentieth century.

The Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K. 382 is a set of concert variations scored for piano and orchestra composed in early 1782 by Mozart as an alternative final movement to his Piano Concerto No. 5, a piece he composed in December 1773 when he was 18.

Mozart had just moved from his hometown Salzburg to Vienna in 1781, where he needed to gain a reputation and a subsequent secure income. He did this through composition, teaching and piano performances in concerts. As he did not have too many original piano concertos to his name this was an area where Mozart could draw work from. His 5th piano concerto had been a great success in Mannheim, which he had visited on his 1777 journey to Paris.Thus, he revised the work to make it more suitable for his Viennese audience at the upcoming important Lenten concert on 3 March 1782.

Mozart wrote the Rondo in A major at around the same time as his three first Vienna piano concertos, nos. 11, 12 and 13.

The musicologist Alfred Einstein believed that the piece was intended as either the original or a replacement finale for his Piano Concerto No. 12 in A. Both pieces are in the same key, and both were composed at similar times. However, there are considerable differences. The three concertos were composed by Mozart to be a quattro (with just four strings in accompaniment), whilst the Rondo cannot be, as the cellos have an independent line from the basses.The first page of the manuscript was also titled and dated by Mozart, suggesting individuality.

I think you will love this music too.

No comments:

Post a Comment